Ever since AMD debuted the HD 7000
series, there's been rumors that a high-end HD 7990 dual-GPU version of the card would appear and take on Nvidia's GTX 690
. Thus far, the company has avoided launching such a card in the consumer space (the S10000, which we covered
last November, packs two 7970 cores on a single PCB but is aimed at data centers and the virtualization market). Asus has evidently gotten tired of waiting. Like the other top-end cards the company has built, the new Ares II combines two of AMD's fastest 7970 GPUs on a single PCB.
According to Asus
, it'll be building just 1000 of these cards. Each will ship with a serial number etched into its aluminum backplate. The GPU uses a liquid cooler with a pair of 120mm fans and a radiator block that the company says "easily fits in most PC cases." That's in addition to the 80mm dustproof fan that's also attached to the card itself.
This card is an absolute beast. It's clocked at 1050MHz, a full 27% faster than the S10000. It packs 6GB of RAM and a plethora of display outputs (2x DVI, 1x HDMI via adapter, 4x Display Port). Power requirements are listed as 42 amps on the 12V rail -- that's a massive 504W power draw. For a single card, that's bogsmackingly enormous -- but it explains why the Ares II needs three 8-pin PCIe power feeds, while the S10000, with its 375W TDP, managed to get by on two.
Unlike the last Mars II card, which was a three-slot design, the Ares II is a dual-slot -- Asus went with increased fan output and a liquid cooler rather than a conventionally air-cooled part with a larger heatsink. The company hasn't announced a price yet, but based on its specs, you probably won't see this card for less than four figures.
Performance should be in line with other multi-GPU 7970 configurations, though Asus will also ship the card with a multi-GPU Crossfire adapter, in case someone is feeling particularly nuts and wants to daisy chain two or more of these together.